The Anglican Evangelical Doctrine of Infant Baptism

“The subject of infant baptism is undoubtedly a delicate and difficult one … But this must not make members of the Church of England shrink from holding decided opinions on the subject. That church has declared plainly in its Articles that ‘the baptism of young children is in any wise to be retained, as most agreeable with the institution of Christ.’ To this opinion we need not be afraid to adhere.” J. C. Ryle

This book aims to help Anglicans recover that same gracious yet unashamed confidence shown by Bishop Ryle in the nineteenth century. The authors defend biblically the doctrine of infant baptism and its proper evangelical practice within the Church of England. They expound a covenantal understanding which has impeccable credentials in order to reassure a new generation of Anglican ‘paedobaptists’ that theirs is no new or peculiar doctrine, and to persuade those who may not have fully appreciated the Reformed heritage we in the Church of England enjoy.

Why publish together these two papers on the Anglican Evangelical doctrine of infant baptism? First, there is still relatively little written from an Anglican viewpoint on the subject of infant (or paedo) baptism. Baptism is of course one of those subjects on which we have obvious differences with many of our closest friends and gospel partners in non-Anglican evangelical churches. So perhaps a certain reticence to discuss this potentially divisive ‘distinctive’ is therefore understandable. Yet secondary issues are not unimportant issues, and with care it should be possible robustly to expound a view on such matters while graciously maintaining fellowship with brothers and sisters who read the Scriptures differently at this point. Second, there is some confusion regarding baptism in a number of our churches at present, with many lapsing into a kind of default anti-paedobaptism (sometimes misleadingly called credobaptism, as if Anglicans did not also baptize adult converts!). This mystification in the pews may be due partly to the absence of seemingly trustworthy material on the subject. We are grateful to the authors for their kind permission to reproduce these articles which were both originally published elsewhere.

Dr. John R. W. Stott CBE is Rector Emeritus of All Souls, Langham Place in London and over the last 60 years has been one of the most influential leaders of evangelicalism worldwide.

Dr. J. Alec Motyer is the former Principal of Trinity College, Bristol, and was for many years incumbent of St. Luke’s, West Hampstead and later minister of Christ Church, Westbourne.

Preface by Lee Gatiss.  The Preface can be read online here, as a taster for the book.

ISBN: 978 0 946307 96 8

First published 2008: 60 pages

Price: £3.99

To order this book, click here: http://www.latimertrust.org/ib.htm.

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